What Rioja lacks in order to reach wines from Bordeaux or Burgundy.
Alejandro Simó knows a lot about wine. You can spend hours talking about the different properties of a wood, the particularity of a soil or the molecular structure of tannins. That's why it bothers him to hear that, if the grape is good, the wine is made alone. Nothing of that!
As director of Bodegas Luis Alegre, he is committed to ensuring that quality prevails over quantity and advocates for a more cohesive sector that is capable of competing internationally.
His time in Fenavin, in addition, has helped him to once again take the pulse of the markets: ecological agriculture, brexit, wine tourism, price policy ... He has answers for everything.
Here is the link of the complete interview in Spanish: https://cadenaser.com/ser/2019/05/20/gastro/1558354164_241731.html
And then, we detail the questions translated into English:
Have you closed many sales in Fenavin?
It´s still early to conclude agreements because importers value several options and in these days postferia we are working hard to "set" the conversations started in Ciudad Real. The world of wine, once again, moves slowly. But if there is agreement, this is usually very long, even eternal.
Has there been much talk about 'brexit'?
It´s a subject that is present, but at the fair I didn´t detect a special concern. The British importers are more "weeping" than usual, but the truth is that we are more than accustomed to these situations.
Is the Spanish wine sector united?
I don´t think so. It´s a reflection of Spanish society. Each one goes his own way. The interests of the wineries are very different: some seek large volumes (the majority), others seek quality, others are not from the sector and do not understand the business well ... In short, an amalgam difficult to unite. We lack history.
Will the future of the wine be ecological or it will not be?
It will be another part of the business. You can earn some share, but no more. There are many wine regions where, due to climatic conditions, organic farming is possible, although a sustainable model can be practiced.
You say that "the great drama of wine is that supply exceeds demand". Is the solution to start the vineyard?
I dont see it easy. There will be a natural selection and everything will fall under its own weight. It´s true that there will be a large expansion of large groups acquiring small and medium-sized wineries.
In the world of wine, less is more?
As for the quality of production, yes. There is no doubt that the largest wines come from smaller productions, and this without detracting from the large corporations that increasingly present more interesting wines in relatively high productions. But in everything else, more is more. The more capacity to generate communication, the better it will go. The more you invest in technology, the better it will go. And the better and better paid workers, the better you will go.
How important is wine tourism for Luis Alegre?
We have always opted for it. We were pioneers in opening a restaurant at the doors of our winery. It is a very close way of making our wines known and, in fact, we have continued making a great investment effort. In addition to the traditional menu we have always had, we have incorporated kitchen professionals that allow us to offer a more evolved gastronomy. And our views have allowed us to open a unique panoramic chill out in La Rioja.
Where does the international market aim?
The market seeks wines that are friendly, elegant and easy to drink, but at the same time with structure and weight in the mouth. In addition, the autochthonous, the 'terroir', the parcel wines with an identity are rewarded. I don´t see alcohol as limiting, if it´s well integrated into the whole wine. That is to say, a good acidity, a sweet / sweet tannin and an alcoholic degree of 14.5º / 15º should not be scary.
Why did you decide to honor Arnaud de Pontac with one of your wines?
This gentleman promoted elaboration techniques that we think are modern, but he was already working in the eighteenth century: low yields in the vineyard, use of new wood, quality pruning ... He was a special man, a visionary and surely, Bordeaux It would be what it is today without its existence. In fact, as La Rioja was created by Bordeaux, we would not be what we are either.
Finca la Reñana is one of the most accessible wines of Luis Alegre. How do you recommend enjoying it?
In good company! And it can be with oneself
What does Rioja lack to be at the level of Burgundy, Bordeaux or Piedmont?
We already have that level, speaking of quality. At the image level, we don´t have it, nor do we think we have it in the short term. At least I'm not going to live it.